Emile Durkheim

Topics: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, Anomie Pages: 3 (1147 words) Published: November 2, 2010
Emile Durkheim, the world's first official Sociologist believes society is a complex structure in which each separate part is responsible for its own function for the benefit of the whole. This essay will explain how society can be both internal and external to human beings, also three characteristics of the social fact concept, and three of Durkheim's sociologically significant concepts. According to Durkheim, society comes in two forms: internal and external. First, the internal society forms the 'collective moral conscious' . In other words, it is the defining mechanism in shaping our beliefs and attitudes for survival in the world. If society does not conform to the internal society, then social isolation, ridicule, and other forms of punishment could occur. Examples of internal society are the Bible, education, and laws. Society uses these devices to attempt to keep social order and construct a socially acceptable individual. External to society is the actual pressures from the community to conform to the collective. For example, ways of thinking, acting and feeling are external to society. Social facts exist externally to us and compel people to behave in a unified way, with norms that are constructed by society. These facts are recognizable through power that the external persuasion has, which can be exercised over an individual. In his early works, Durkheim defined social facts, according to Coser in The Work, by their exteriority and constraint, focusing his primary concern on the operation of the law.

He later changed his views and stressed that social facts become competent guides and controls of conduct only to the extent that they become internalized by individuals while continuing to exist outside of them . Social facts contain several characteristics. One characteristic is constraint. Constraint is the ability to condition an individual to conform to society. For example, a person will receive a traffic ticket if they go over the speed limit....
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